Thursday, February 22, 2018

Klondike Ice Cream

I've reviewed a lot of classic ice cream bars over the years.  Most fail to satisfy me, as I've turned into a snob, and these "ice cream novelties" and "frozen dairy desserts" just aren't exactly the quality level I've come to appreciate.

But I found a winner.  Klondike bars.

I didn't eat many of these growing up.  My family never had them.  Our school ice cream program never had them.  But I do remember liking them, although I rather suspected some of that was just the novelty of an item that came with a different wrapper style.  But maybe that is why I was so excited when I tried one recently?  They still are a bit of a unicorn to me, not a common item I encounter.

Klondike bars have been around since the 1920's, and are named after the Klondike River.  Their unique aspects are the fact that they do not have a stick, are square shaped, and have foil wrappers.  Klondike makes their signature bars in a huge variety of flavors at this point: original (chocolate), dark chocolate, double chocolate, heath, mint chocolate chip, s'mores, cookie dough swirl, krunch, reese's, oreo, caramel pretzel, brownie fudge swirl, neo-politan, and more.  Different flavors of ice cream, differing coatings, but all squares of ice cream coated in chocolate of some form.

The company also makes "Kandy Bars", described as "Klondike meets candy bar", shaped more like a traditional candy bar, but, made of ice cream.  And ice cream sandwiches, including Oreo ones (yes, with giant Oreo cookies and a ice cream filling with bits of oreo inside it (like what I tried in Canada, but made by Nestlé), and those made with Mrs. Fields Cookies.  They also are the maker of ... choco tacos!
Single Serve Klondike Bar.
Most Klondike bars come wrapped in that signature foil wrapper, but, single serve ones come in a more standard plastic bag wrapper.   I almost expected a foil wrapper inside, but, alas, nope.

The single serve bars are also 20% bigger than the standard, 102 grams instead of 85 grams.  The size threw me off a bit.
The Original.
"A huge hunk of creamy vanilla ice cream covered in a thick, chocolatey shell.  It’s simple, classic perfection — The best thing to happen to ice cream since, um, the invention of ice cream."
I had an original Klondike bar.  Just vanilla ice cream, just a plain chocolate shell.

The chocolate had a nice snap to it.  It was thick enough to taste, but not hard to bite into.

The ice cream was soft, sweet, and creamy.  I let it melt just a bit, and it got even better.

I really enjoyed this, simple as it was.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Waffling Leftovers: Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses

Update Review: December 2017

When I visit my family, my mother often makes a wonderful 5 cheese pasta dish that we call "grown up mac and cheese" from a Smitten Kitchen recipe that we have tweaked a bit.  And when we grow sick of traditional leftovers, my mother and I both really enjoy waffling it, which, you've read about before.
Waffling Transformation: Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
There isn't much new to this story, as its a repeat of something we have done many times.

So the answer to this one is pretty expected - Leftover Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses, Will It Waffle?  Yup.
The Original: Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
The original dish this time was slightly different from our previous adventures.  It is usually cooked in a cast iron skillet and finished under a broiler, but this time it was served as part of a big Christmas Eve feast, so we couldn't quite do the more fussy preparation.  And honestly, I think my mom just forgot about the cast iron skillet.

So, this was the same recipe, just, baked in a regular casserole dish.  It also had a bit more cheese on top, I think mom was feeling decadent.
Leftover Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
The leftovers are always good, but, reheating them results in the oils running out, and cold, it is a bit dry.
Waffling ...
So into the waffle iron we put it, no crusting, 350 degrees, about 5 minutes.
Waffled Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
It crisped up perfectly, extracted easily ,and was a success as always.

Why doesn't everyone waffle their leftover cheesy pasta?

Original Review, July 2017

Another installment of waffling leftovers, using leftovers I suspected would waffle great: leftover pasta.

I've waffled many other pasta dishes over the years, like mac and cheese, tuna noodle casserole, lasagna, and even choroizo wrapped pesto pasta, so when I had two-day old pasta that needed life breathed into it, I knew where to turn.  My waffle iron.
Waffling Transformation: Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
The answer to this one is pretty straightforward - Leftover Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses, Will It Waffle?  Yup.
The Original, Unbaked.
The original was a Smitten Kitchen recipe, pasta shells mixed with 5 cheeses, herbs, and tomatoes, baked in a cast iron skillet, and topped with lots more cheese.

My mom made this a few years ago, and it was a hit with the whole family, so she continues to make it when I visit, tweaking it a bit through the years (we use more herbs, her homemade chunky tomato sauce, a different mix of cheeses).
The Original: Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
I always enjoy the original, as the cast iron skillet and broiled top (optional step, but, totally recommended) yield plenty of crispy bits.  I'm all about the crispy bits.  We add plenty of ricotta for creaminess, and a smoked cheese or two to enhance the flavor, and, well, this dish is a winner.

This year, she made a double batch, one in a cast iron skillet (as per the recipe) and one in another baking pan, to compare.  It meant we had a LOT of pasta leftover.

And I knew the waffle iron would help me out with even more crispy bits.
Leftover Pasta.
We ate leftovers one day, reheated traditionally.  It was fine, although, like mac and cheese, some separation occurred, and oils ran out.

I also had some cold, which I've enjoyed in the past, a la pasta salad, but, this time it was just a bit too dry.
Waffling ... 
By day three, the waffle iron is where I turned.  At my mom's request.  She wanted to try it waffled!

So into the waffle iron a chunk went, 350°.  I let it go a fairly standard amount of time, just under 10 minutes probably.

It extracted easily.
Waffled Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses.
The pasta waffle was exactly as I expected it to be.

Lots of crispy exterior, formed by both the pasta and the cheese.  So many little crispy bits.  The shells in particular were a fun choice, since they had more interesting contact points with the waffle iron than flat pasta like lasagna does.

The cheese didn't run out, which surprised me a bit, but perhaps this mix of cheeses (mostly hard cheeses), just worked better than the softer cheeses used formac and cheese, where I've had this problem a bit?

Anyway, it was a fine, crispy pasta waffle, although it did lose the creaminess of the original.  My mom enjoyed it topped with steamed collard greens.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

MIX Poke Bar, Bellevue

Poke.  Poke bowls.  One of the latest fads for sure, and although it has hit San Francisco it isn't too bad, but the same cannot be said for Los Angeles and Seattle.  Seriously, everywhere.

As I haven't been into raw fish lately, poke isn't particularly interesting to me, except that poke bowl places have tons of mix-ins, toppings, and sauces.  Um, I live for toppings and sauces.  And they usually some interesting protein options besides just standard raw tuna (crab salad! Scallops! Octopus!)

So when I arrived in Bellevue, WA on a Sunday evening and didn't have the energy to go out to a real restaurant, poke it was.

I had my choice of at least 3 different poke places all within half a block of my hotel, but I went for MIX Poke Bar, the one with the highest Yelp ratings.

MIX Poke Bar is fairly new, open only a year, located in Bellevue Square mall.
Ordering Window.
"MIX Poke Bar puts a modern spin on the traditional Hawaiian dish while respecting the history and culture of where it came from. "
MIX Poke Bar is a very casual place, located on the sidewalk basically next to The Cheesecake Factory outside the Macy's in Bellevue Square mall.

They have no seating, and really, it is just a open ordering area to the outside.

The menu is poke bowls.  There are lots of customization, all included in the price, but besides that, the menu contains only bags of chips (Hawaiian chips), soft drinks (Hawaiian Sun), poke by the pound, and macaroons.

The first thing you select is the size, ranging from "Regular" with 2 proteins for $12 to "X-Large" with 4 proteins for $16.  I'm not sure if the amount of the base changes too, or just the proteins?  There is no option for a single protein, but probably you can just select one and double up?

The next decision is what your base will be.  Salad greens, white rice, brown rice, or tortilla chips.

I went for the smallest size since I wasn't actually very hungry, with salad greens as my base, because I don't like rice.  I was planning to get the chips actually, but the person before me got chips, and I saw they were just tortilla chips.  Somehow I thought they'd be more interesting than that.

With your bowl size determined, and the base added to it in, it is time to continue down the assembly line.
Proteins.
Next up is your choice of protein.  Choices here include standard raw offerings (tuna, salmon), cooked seafood (shrimp, octopus), a non-seafood option (chicken), and vegetarian option (tofu).

The only protein I really wanted from this section was the octopus, but I picked salmon as my second since I was required to pick two, and, I figured I could hedge my bets.  I certainly didn't want chicken or tofu, and I'm just not really into raw seafood these days, but, I do still sometimes like raw salmon, and I was in the Pacific Northwest after all!

Your protein is put into a metal bowl for mixing with the mix-ins, not into the container with your base.
Mix-Ins.
Next is, well, the mix-ins.

Green onion slivers, slices of sweet white onion, cubes of cucumber, thin slices of jalapeno, and ogo (seaweed).

I don't like cucumbers so I skipped that, and was planning to add many things in the next station, so I left out the jalapeno and sweet onion, but added the green onion and ogo since I thought they'd compliment my upcoming selections well.

These were added to the bowl with my proteins.
Sauces.
Next, sauce and sprinkles.

The sauce choices all sounded pretty interesting: House Shoyu, Creamy Spicy, Sweet + Savory Miso, Gochujang Ponzu.  I narrowed down to creamy spicy (because, um, I love creamy sauces) and sweet + savory miso (because, uh, miso), and asked for a recommendation.  I was told that they are both great, and that people love to mix them.  I didn't know that was an option!  Of course I wanted to mix.

The sauces are normally added to the metal mixing bowl with the protein and mix-ins, but I asked to have mine on the side, for two reasons: first, what if I didn't like it!  But second, I wasn't planning to eat it right away, and I didn't want it to get mushy.  

This was no problem, and my sauce mix was made into a little container on the side instead.   The person making my bowl recommended that I still add sesame oil to the mix then, which I agreed to.  She also offered sesame seeds from the shaker, which I also said yes to.
Toppings.
The final station is why I was really there.  Honestly, if I could have just gotten toppings, I would have.

Krab salad, seaweed salad, masago, wasabi, ginger, furikake, crispy onions, and edamame.

I left off the edamame and roe, but went for everything else.
Regular. $12.
So, my final creation: Regular size, mixed green base, tako and salmon proteins mixed with green onion and ono tossed with sesame oil and sesame seeds, topped with krab salad, seaweed salad, ginger, wasabi, furikake, and extra crispy onions, with spicy creamy + sweet and savory miso sauce mix on the side.

I think I selected well, although, poke bowls just really aren't for me.  I still enjoyed most of it.

I'm not a big salad eater, but, the greens were good, a pretty standard mix of "salad greens", that is, baby spinach, a few slightly bitter lettuces, some standard green leaf.  All fresh enough, and delicious dunked in the sauce, and tasty where the sesame oil soaked in.

The proteins though ... I did not like.  At all.  The tako I was pretty excited for.  I adore octopus, and I've been on an octopus kick lately.  But this ... this was every reason people don't like octopus.  It was sooo chewy, rubbery.  I really couldn't get through it with my teeth.  It had no flavor, only chew.  I love a nice smoky grilled octopus, but this ... yeah.  I tried a few different pieces, different sizes, different parts, hoping something would be salvageable, but alas, no.

The salmon I also didn't like, but that I expected a bit more.  It wasn't well trimmed, and it was pretty flavorless.  Not nearly as offensive as the octopus, but really not good.

The sesame oil, green onions, and seaweed that were mixed in though were good, and I enjoyed those elements, particularly as the lettuce below soaked it all up.

My toppings though redeemed the whole thing.

In the center of my bowl was a scoop of the krab salad.  Yes, it was "krab" and I knew it, but I loved it.  Bring on the mayo and I'm a happy girl.

The seaweed salad was another scoop, added on one side, and it too was good.  Better than most generic seaweed salad, a good assortment of seaweeds, great flavors and seasonings.  Awesome mixed with the krab salad too.

The ginger was a bit comical ... a huge, huge mound, as big as the pile of krab salad if not bigger.  Um, I didn't need that much ginger.  It was pretty typical low-end pickled ginger.  Nice to cleanse the palette I guess, but not particularly good.  The wasabi was even funnier, just a big pile of wasabi paste stuck on top of the bowl.  Uh ... I guess I was supposed to mix it in?  It too seemed pretty low end.  I'd probably leave both of these off in the future.

The crispy onion bits were awesome.  I'm a sucker for these in general, so it probably comes as no surprise that I loved them.  I loved the crunch, I loved the fried-ness.  I was originally given a little mound, just like all the other elements, in its own separate area, but I asked for extra, saying I just loved crunch so much, and so she sprinkled some all over the top.  Yes!

Furikake was my final topping, also sprinkled all over the top.  It added great flavors to everything.

And finally, my sauces, on the side.  They were both great.  The creamy spicy sauce wasn't really that spicy, but it was quite flavorful, and yup, mayo.  I enjoyed dunking salad into it, and would have liked dunking my octopus in, if I had liked the octopus that is.  The sweet and savory miso was a lighter option, but again, great flavor.  I see why she recommended mixing them.

So overall, I did actually end up with a tasty salad that I enjoyed, topped with very flavorful seaweed salad, creamy krab salad, and plenty of crunchy fried onions, with very delicious sauces on the side.  It was fairly healthy and quite satisfying, and really packed in a lot of flavors and textures.

That said, I discarded the premium parts of my bowl, the salmon and octopus, and that felt a bit sad.  I really wish I could just go for some krab salad and seaweed salad sides, topped with crispy onions and furikake!
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Monday, February 05, 2018

Poke from Big Fish Little Fish

The poke fad has hit the Bay Area.  Poke bowl establishments a la Subway/Chipotle are popping up, not nearly as prevalent as in Los Angeles (or even Seattle), but, we are getting there.
Poke Bowls!
And by "the poke fad", of course I mean customizable poke bowl places, that bare very little resemblance to their Hawaiian inspiration.

Setting

Big Fish Little Fish is located in Rincon Center, open only for lunch, only during the week, clearly geared at nearby office workers.  It is adjacent to Eatsa, the fast casual "robot" customizable vegetarian quinoa/salad bowl place, that I've reviewed before.
Lines, Always.
You will find Big Fish Little Fish easily, as there is always a line leading to the front.
Outside Seating.
Large size communal picnic tables fill the courtyard, shared with the other establishments nearby.  No heat lamps though, so, during San Francisco "winter", these largely go unused.
Indoor Seating.
Big Fish Little Fish has some limited indoor seating, but most people get their bowls to go.
Ordering Counter.
The ordering counter is at the front, with a big line leading to it from outside.

The Food

The menu is pretty simple: poke bowls.
Signature Bowls.
They have a few pre-designed bowls if you want to go simple, or you can build your own.  The only side dish available is soup.  Not even chips.  No desserts.  Very bare bones.  Some of their other locations seem to offer poke burritos, but not this one.

The ordering system is a bit confusing.  Everyone waits in the long line, and then you step up to order.  If you are ordering one of the pre-designed bowls, you then just get directed down the line to order and pay, and are given a number to wait for your bowl to be delivered.

Otherwise, for build-a-bowl style, you start down an assembly line, where the staff rush you through.  I understand that the line is long and they need to provide quick service, but, they really rushed us.
Base Options.
If you are building your own bowl, the first step is to pick your base, from 4 options: brown rice, white rice, mixed greens, or kale.

Your base of choice (you can pick two) is placed into the cardboard bowl, and you are handed off to the next station.
Proteins.
Next is your choice of proteins, 2 choices for a "Little Fish" or 3 for a "Big Fish".

Choices are all seafood, nothing here for your vegetarian or non-seafood eating friends (no tofu, chicken, etc that are common at other places).  For raw options there is salmon, albacore, "tuna", and spicy tuna, plus cooked shrimp and octopus.  All are cubed or chopped into bite sized pieces.  I laughed at the "tuna" vs "albacore" listings ... albacore is a type of tuna ... I assume the "tuna" was ahi?

Your choices are placed into a separate, aluminum, bowl, 1 small scoop of each.  And you move down the line.
Sauce.
Now, time for sauce. Two creamy options are available: "srirach" aioli or wasabi cream, plus four lighter options: ponzu citrus, traditional yuzu, sweet onion, and mustard sesame.  Yes, the "srirach" I'm pretty sure was meant to be sriracha.

These are normally mixed in with the proteins, but you can also ask for them on the side, in little containers.  And then, passed on again.
Toppings.
The next person controls only two toppings: seaweed salad and "crab".  I was glad to see these not considered premium offerings, and I asked for two scoops of crab and it was no problem.

Then, on to the rest of the toppings.  This is where things got very rushed.  And where they got even more stingy, although you weren't limited in number of toppings.  Options were corn, green onion, jalapeno, red onion, carrot, cilantro, pickled ginger, masago, mango, purple cabbage, cucumber, and "edameme".  Avocado was also available, for $1.50 more, the only premium topping.  They seriously need a proofreader for the signs ... "edameme".

The person making my bowl at this stage really rubbed me the wrong way.  "Carrots", I said, and she put in the *tinest* little bit of carrot.  "Cabbage, lots of cabbage", and she just rolled her eyes at me.  She tried to hand my bowl down the line before I finished with my toppings, and I really wasn't being slow!

Your fish was mixed up at this point with the sauce (if you had mixed in) and toppings you asked to have mixed in, and dumped on top of the bowl.  And then, on to the final station.
Crunchy Toppings!
The finishing station offered a drizzle of the same two cream sauces from earlier, plus a few crunch toppings: wasabi peas, crispy onion, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, and furikake.  Apparently they used to have more options, like crispy lotus chips, but alas, they were removed.  Sunflower seeds seemed really random.
Custom Big Fish Bowl.
One of my co-workers did a custom Big Fish with tuna, salmon, and spicy tuna, plus a scattering of other ingredients.  This gives a pretty good overview of how, uh, lovingly assembled the bowls were, and how not exactly generously filled they were.  The wasabi cream drizzle on top was almost invisible!

The tuna portion was decent, the salmon much smaller.
Custom Big Fish Bowl.
Another co-worker made the same 3 protein choices for a Big Fish bowl, but added more toppings.  This one looked better.
Custom Big Fish Bowl with Proteins & Sauce on the side. $13.
I took the advice of some Yelpers, and opted to have my protein left on the side, and sauces individually packaged, since I had no idea which sauces I'd like, and I wasn't certain I'd eat the whole bowl in one sitting, so I wanted to keep the other ingredients from getting soggy.
Sauces: Traditional yuzu, Wasabi Cream, Srirach Aioli.
So, starting with the sauces.  I kinda wanted to try them all, but I settled on three, both of the creamy options, plus just the traditional yuzu, since, well it was tradition.

I wasn't impressed with any.

The wasabi cream did have a tiny bit of kick, but it seemed to just be, literally, wasabi sour cream.  I expected something ... more, not sure what.

The "srirach" aioli was creamier and richer, since it was aioli, but, I hated the flavor of it.  I don't dislike sriracha, but, this was just not tasty.

So, two sauces down, the ones I expected to love, since I'm all about creamy sauces.  I wish they had miso aioli.

The traditional yuzu was fairly boring, very light, it really tasted just like watered down soy sauce.

I'm very glad I left these on the side, and more glad that I had alternate dressings at home I could use instead.
Proteins: Salmon, Tuna, Octopus.
For proteins, the only one I really wanted was octopus (really, I wanted scallops or crab, but, not options), but the salmon looked good so I added it, and I got the "tuna" for a friend.

The octopus was horrible.  So chewy.  So rubbery.  The mix of pieces was good though.

The salmon was good.  It did indeed seem fresh, the flavor was good, the cuts were good.  The portion fairly small.

I didn't try the tuna, but it too did look decent quality.
Kale Bowl with Toppings.
And finally, all the rest of it.  If you know me, this is what I was really excited for.  Toppings!  Crunchy things!

For my base, I went for a salad, with a choice between mixed greens or kale.  I opted for kale.  It was torn into fairly bite sized pieces, with shredded carrot and red cabbage already mixed in.  It was fine, fresh and crisp enough, although a bit of an odd choice rather than baby kale, as raw kale is pretty tough.  Still, decent.

I added both sides, seaweed salad and surimi crab.  The seaweed salad was a generous scoop, standard marinated mixed seaweeds with sesame seeds, the kind that gets stuck in your teeth.  For the crab, I asked for two scoops, which were given without any hesitation or extra fees.  The benefits of fake crab!  I expected the crab to have mayo mixed in, crab salad style, but it was seemingly just shredded surimi.  I desperately wanted something creamy to mix in, and since I didn't like their creamy sauces, I added my own mayo and mixed it with the traditional sauce once I got home.  This improved things, but plain shredded surimi is pretty boring.

Moving on to the rest of my toppings.  I added corn, pickled ginger, shredded carrot, purple cabbage.  All fairly standard.  This was actually like 5 servings of purple cabbage, because I really wanted a lot, I love the crunch it adds, and I kept saying "lots of cabbage!" "More cabbage" and finally got what I wanted.  The other veggies were added ... sparingly.

And of course, I wnated tons of crunch.  I gave the same guidance for the wasabi peas and crispy onions.  "Lots!"  "More!" "Could I please have another handful? I love crunch!"  Eventually I got as many as I wanted.  These too were fine, fairly standard, good crunch.

So overall, this was ... well, "fine".  Decent quality seafood, decent quality toppings.  If the sauces were better, or the octopus, I'd consider returning, but as it was, I have no desire to go back.
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Friday, February 02, 2018

Entenmann's

Entenmann's is a wholesale bakery and supplier of packaged baked goods, such as loaf cakes, donuts, cookies, cup cakes, pies, bars, muffins, danishes, etc.  I remember seeing their products primarily in gas stations when I was growing up, and always eyed the boxes of chocolate donuts.  I think we sometimes got their eclairs, but, my memories aren't that strong.

While Entenmann's is technically a bakery, I'm going to put them more into the "snacks" category than bakery, much like Little Debbie or Drake's, both of whose goods I have reviewed before.

On my recent visit to my parent's house, my dad had a box of their goodies, and, one night, a rare case of my mom not making homemade dessert, I tried one.

It was, uh, very satisfying?
Mini Apple Pie.
"An American classic, perfect for a snack anytime!"

Entenmann's makes classic whole apple pies.  But, they also make snack pies, in several sizes (mini or regular, both considered individual servings).

I think calling them "pies" isn't quite accurate, these aren't mini pies, as in, not just small versions of pie, but rather, more like McDonald's pies ... that is, pastry wrapped around filling on all sides.  But I digress.

I opted for the smaller "mini" pie.   Like the larger snack size, these are grab-no-go pies, individually wrapped.
Mini Apple Pie: Inside.
The pastry wrapper wasn't flaky.  It wasn't buttery.  But it was oh-so-sweet, with plentiful hard white glaze on it.  Quality pastry?  Nah.  Fresh pastry?  Certainly not.  But I didn't care.

The filling wasn't just goo, it did have some chunks of apple, and it was decently spiced.

Basically, it was a snack pie, exactly as you'd expect.

Which has its place in life.  Sometimes, a simple little snack pie is all you want.  And when that mood hits, I recommend this one.
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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Sweet Sydney's Gluten-Free Cookies

I don't really like cookies.  I'm not gluten-free.  But I'll admit these are decently made gluten-free cookies, and, the gluten-free folks I know rave about them (and claim "you wouldn't even know they are gluten-free!"  I disagree, but, I'm glad they like them).
"We are an artisan, gluten-free (GF) baking company based in San Francisco. My dad and I spent months perfecting our family recipes to create what we think are the best GF desserts on the market. Give our treats a try and we think you'll agree."
That is about all I know about the company, besides the fact that they produce for wholesale markets, and are distributed at all the higher end grocery stores around town, so they are pretty easy to obtain if you live in SF.  They make cookies, cookie dough, brownies, and lemon bars.  We tried several of the cookies.
Gingersnap.
"Soft and chewy, with amazing flavor, this cookie launched Sweet Sydney’s. These will not only be your favorite GF cookie, but your favorite cookie period."

These looked like really great cookies.  Large size, soft, perfectly crackled on top, large chunks of pearl sugar.

They were soft too.  But, I found the texture a bit off.  In exactly the way I'd expect, to be honest.  They were gluten-free after all.

My gluten-free friends however said they were great, so, if you are gluten-free, and like cookies, give them a try.  If you are expecting to not notice anything a bit different though, these won't do that.
Oatmeal Raisin.
"Oatmeal raisin cookie--soft and chewy with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg."

These were easily my least favorite.

Big, soft cookies, and they looked great, but, tasted like sawdust to me.  I thought the texture was very off, but, others really thought they were good.

Credit for the soft cookie, and credit for good distribution of raisins, but, I did not like.
Coconut Macadamia.
"Amazing coconut cookies with two types of coconut. Soft and chewy with crunchy macadamia nuts."

This one was *almost* good.  Another soft cookie, almost even unbaked in a gooey way that I like.  It was very generously laced with shredded coconut (too much for my taste, but that is personal preference), but I was disappointed by the small amount of macadamia, and fact that the macadamia was small bits, rather than larger chunks.

Still, again, very decently made, for what it was.
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Waffling Leftovers: "Red Salad"

Today's random leftovers waffling adventure is another pretty strange one, even I'll admit this.   If the concept of waffling things that aren't waffle batter is new to you, you might want to start with my master post, and then return here.
"Red Salad" Transformation.
This time, I started with leftover ... salad.  Yes, the concept of me waffling salad is not actually new, as you read about last week.  Or the time I waffled peaches from an heirloom tomato, stone fruit, and burrata salad.

But this was a particularly interesting salad, dubbed "Red Salad".  More on this soon.

But first, the burning question.

Will it Waffle: Leftover "Red Salad"?  Actually, yes.
The Original: "Red Salad".
So first, the original.  A salad, but not one that has any greens.  A nice winter salad.

The base is a mix of shredded red cabbage, red onions, and red beets.  Hence the name.  All raw.  It is dressed with simple balsamic and olive oil.  Also in the mix is chervil and capers.  It is normally served with creme fraiche on the side, but, our chef mixed it all in this time (which, to be honest, just wasn't nearly as successful.  Don't do that.).  The recipe actually says, "Next to this, nustle your blob of crème fraîche as if the two ingredients were good friends, not on top of each other as if they were lovers."  I greatly prefer this, uh, nustling, as it allows you to mix in a little creaminess when you want it, and just appreciate the assertive crisp raw veggies when you don't.  This version was more like a cole slaw.

So where does such a strange sounding recipe come from?  The recipe is actually that of Chef Fergus Henderson, a highly regarded Michelin star chef, in his cookbook Beyond Nose to Tail: More Omnivorous Recipes for the Adventurous Cook.  

This salad is usually a favorite of mine, but, I think due to the mixing in of the cream fraiche, it wasn't a winner this time, and we had lots leftover.
Leftover "Red Salad".
I tried some leftovers the next day, hoping maybe I'd like it more now that my expectations were adjusted, and, now that the flavors had melded a bit more.

But, it still was just like cole slaw, was too creamy/rich, and just not really good.  And I like cole slaw, and I love rich things.  This just wasn't working for me.
Into the waffle iron ...
Rather than throw it out, you know what I did of course.

Switched on the waffle iron, 350 degrees.
"Waffled" "Red Salad".
I forgot to take a final photo, so I'll have to describe the transformation instead.

It worked.  The creme fraiche mostly cooked out, so the creamy rich aspect that wasn't doing it for me was removed.

The cabbage transformed the least, basically, just warm cabbage, which was fine, but not particularly interesting.

The red onion, originally harsh raw red onion, turned into grilled onion.  Um, always a good thing.

The shredded beet was the biggest surprise, I think because it was shredded more finely than the other items it cooked more, and turned into crispy beet strips, like, beet chips.  I actually *really* liked the beets.

Put it all together, and it was a mix of flavors and textures that kinda worked.  Was it amazing?  Nah.  But it was much, much better than the original, and I was glad I tried it.

So yes, it "waffled".
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